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A desire to shape the evolving field of technology law drives the career of Kate Rundle. It has taken her into the heart of the Silicon Valley boom, to the legal departments of top-flight tech companies. And now it’s led her into the general counsel seat at microprocessor design company MIPS Technologies, Inc. Rundle, 49, was initially drawn to the challenges of breaking new legal ground in the late 1980s, while she was an associate at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. “As lawyers we didn’t have any road maps as to what to expect, and I think that was one of the most interesting things,” says Rundle. The type of IP and technology law developing in the 1990s proved especially important to Silicon Valley companies like Mountain View, California � based MIPS, whose primary business is licensing technology. “In this valley, intellectual property is the crown jewel, and companies look to lawyers to protect those jewels,” explains Rundle. MIPS’s microprocessor architectures are licensed to semiconductor companies who use them in products such as video games. The company, which was launched in the 1980s, counts Infineon Technologies AG, Texas Instruments Incorporated, and Motorola, Inc., among its clients. While MIPS was rapidly developing new structures for semiconductors, Rundle went in-house as IP counsel at The 3DO Company and then to Sun Microsystems, for eight-and-a-half years. MIPS’s former GC, Sandy Creighton, a colleague from Sun, mentioned the opening as Rundle was figuring out what she’d like to take on next. Rundle says she’s seen the role of company lawyer shift from “the person who tells the executive staff what they could and couldn’t do to a true business partner with the rest of the team.” That shift makes her excited about the possibilities of her new job. But most of all she’s glad to have landed at a company that also thrives on innovation.

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